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5 Important Things to Know About Hyperbaric Treatment.

Updated on October 11, 2011

At first sight hyperbaric treatment looks scary. It involves going into a fully enclosed chamber, or oversized body bag and being locked inside. Apart from the claustrophobic feel of the treatment, it means having total trust in the people operating the equipment. The only time most people have seen anything like it is in the movies where there is inevitably a fear factor and 'timing running out' drama attached.

Hyperbaric chambers were primarily developed to reintroduce deep sea divers or astronauts back into the normal Earth atmosphere without the awful symptoms of altitude sickness and the 'bends'. But hyperbaric treatment also known as hyperbaric oxygen therapy can be beneficial in a large number of diseases and disabilities. Some of the more unproven and somewhat outlandish claims even say that hyperbaric treatment improves autism, cancer, neurological disorders like cerebral palsy, and more.

Despite these claims there are five interesting and useful things to bear in mind about hyperbaric treatment and how it can be used towards improving the quality of life for sufferers of various chronic conditions.

1) Hyperbaric treatment is approved by the Federal Drug Administration and subsidized for a dozen or so medical conditions. Hyperbaric treatment is about two simultaneous things. Firstly the administration of oxygen. And secondly the delivery of that oxygen under raised atmospheric pressure.

2) Hyperbaric treatment can only happen inside a hyperbaric chamber of some sort. It is very different because of this. It is super charged inhalation of oxygen, if you will, and very different to normal oxygen taking in the standard hospital ward or home situation.

3) Hyperbaric treatment is also known as HBOT or hyperbaric oxygen therapy. It is oxygen administered under 3 to 6 times the normobaric pressure. This is the atmospheric pressure we all live in every day. In the oxygen chamber it is a little like swimming in oxygen at depth. The treatment gives the patient up to 15 times the quantity of oxygen that we all inhale under normal circumstances since air is only twenty one percent oxygen.

4) Oxygen feeds the brain and speeds up brain activity in the same way it feeds fire. It also contributes to purification of the bloodstream by flushing out the other less useful, and even harmful gases such as carbon monoxide. The increased atmospheric pressure helps all this happen more intensely.

5) Hyperbaric therapy also helps to strengthen the tissue of the blood vessels that have been damaged by injury or wasting diseases. There are a few and only very treatable side effects of time spent in hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Thus it is very efficacious for people who have been injured in accident with traumatic spinal or brain damage. However people may be prone to these side effects if they have or have had, any of the following; chronic sinusitis, congenital spherocytosis, emphysema with carbon dioxide retention, chronic optic neuritis, repeated episodes of reconstructive ear surgery, repeated spontaneous pneumothorax, repeated thorax surgery, pulmonary lesions in routine X-ray or CT scan, seizure disorders, sickle cell anemia, chronic high fever, URTI or upper respiratory tract infections, and finally viral infections.

You can buy personal hyperbaric therapy chambers but you should always operate them under strict medical guidance.


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